The Late: Japan leader: G-7 agrees more pressure on N. Korea
- Author: Zachary Reyes May 28, 2017,
May 28, 2017, 5:35
TAORMINA, Italy, May 27 (Reuters) - Leaders of the Group of Seven wealthy nations met African heads of state on Saturday, the final day of their annual summit which has been marked by discord over climate change, but unity on tackling terrorism.
The final communique was just six pages long, against 32 pages a year ago, with diplomats saying the leaders wanted a simpler document to help them reach a wider audience. "His views are evolving, exactly as they should be", Mr Trump's economic adviser Gary Cohn said on Friday. But as the opening months of his presidency have shown, Trump can be moved to change his positions and can be heavily influenced by other world leaders. At the Group of 7 summit in the coastal town of Taormina, leaders launched an aggressive, behind-the-scenes campaign to get him to stay in the Paris climate accord. A top White House adviser said the president's views were evolving on the issue, but Trump wasn't immediately swayed by arguments from Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, France's President Emmanuel Macron and others to honor the Paris Agreement, brokered in 2015 by nearly 200 nations to slash fossil fuel emissions and boost funding to ease impacts of global warming.
"The whole discussion on the topic of climate was very hard, not to say very unsatisfactory", she told reporters, labelling the G-7 deadlock as "six against one".
"They were encouraging continued participation in the Paris accord", U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said.
He says: "There have been differences, to be sure, in some past summits, but not a sharp open split like this".
"President Trump should join these leaders in protecting Americans from the mounting impacts of climate change and reaping the economic benefits of the clean energy revolution, rather than trying to shore up the flagging fortunes of the polluting coal and oil industries", Meyer said. In March, he ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to review the Clean Power Plan ― the only USA policy for cutting emissions from the electricity sector.
Trump also understands that Germany is bound by the rules of the European Union and could not unilaterally change its trade policies, Cohn said. As a candidate Trump denounced the deal, but has since said he's waiting to make a final decision.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who also crossed swords with Trump on free trade at the G-7, complained that the United States president was keeping his colleagues in the dark.
The group reached agreement on improving cooperation against terrorism in the wake of the bomb attack on a pop concert in Manchester, Britain, ahead of the summit. At one point this week, the words "Paris Agreement" were almost excluded from the statement, underscoring how contentious the issue became in Taormina, said a Canadian government official who spoke on the condition on anonymity to discuss private deliberations.
However, there was relief that Mr Trump agreed to language in the final G7 communique that pledged to fight protectionism and commit to a rules-based global trade system.
Following a second day of meetings at the Group of 7 summit in Sicily and remarks to USA troops stationed at a nearby air base, Trump was returning to Washington and a new crush of Russia-related controversies. Trump made the surprise announcement in a tweet after resisting pressure from European leaders to stay in the agreement.
Trump's pending review of US climate policies has left environmentalists bracing for the possibility of bland G-7 promises that say little after years of increasingly stronger commitments to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Mr Trump, who once dismissed global warming as a "hoax", has previously threatened to pull out of the accord.
The G-7 is an informal gathering that meets every year under a rotating chairmanship. The last G-7 meeting in Ise-Shima, Japan in 2016 agreed to "fight all forms of protectionism", or the use of import taxes and regulations to favor domestic producers over imports.